long-term unemployed

How to find work after a health condition leaves you long-term unemployed

Looking for any job can be daunting, especially if you have been long-term unemployed for a while due to a health condition. Mistreatment in previous work, lack of understanding or simply not using your skills can knock confidence and make the whole process seem difficult. If your health condition has majorly impacted the type of work you can do, perhaps you are confused about what kind of area you could work in? Perhaps you doubt your ability? You are not alone and just because your working day may look different prior to having your condition or illness, does not mean meaningful work is out of reach for you. Below are some simple steps to get the ball rolling and make looking for work simpler.

Find out what you could do – for example, if your previous role involved manual labour and now you cannot stand for long periods of time, what could you do? Many roles can be done whilst working from home and areas such as customer service or admin can mean you are able to be seated whilst working. For this, it is a good idea to look at your previous experience and deduce if there are any areas where you could transfer these skills into a new role that is better suited for you and your needs. It may help to make a list of your skills, qualities and interests and look for work with remote or flexible working options.

Update your CV – when looking for work a good place to start is updating your CV. There are many websites to help find inspiration. Each area of work may be slightly different in terms of what they would expect from a CV and so it is useful to look at examples of CV’s for the industry you wish to find employment in. Websites such as the National Careers Service offer “free and impartial information, advice and guidance” with anything career or work related.

Build your confidence – perhaps your previous experience was niche and could not be transferred to a new role or perhaps being long-term unemployed has made you no longer feel confident in those skills. It is a good idea to find free work groups in your area that can help with esteem and confidence when searching for employment. Many towns or cities offer such groups at local libraries, which can usually be found by contacting Citizen’s Advice or your local Jobcentre Plus. These groups can help you to gain new skills, reduce isolation and build confidence. They can help in areas such as:

  • IT Skills
  • Job searches
  • CV writing
  • Interview skills
  • Budgeting
  • Housing and benefit support

Other support available can be found through charities.  For example, Scope have resources to support individuals with disabilities on their path to find work and Astriid helps individuals with long-term health conditions or those who have been long-term unemployed to find meaningful employment.

Gain Experience – If you find that the area of work you wish to go into means a complete career change, it may be worth gaining some prior experience in this industry. Voluntary positions are available in most areas of industry and having that experience can help you to create contacts, understand what area you wish to work in, and build confidence. There are many work placement opportunities also available, for example with local councils and Citizen’s Advice centres, which can further help in finding long-term employment whilst gaining experience.


Molly Latham


Article by Molly Latham. Molly loves writing and likes to use words as a way of helping others. Having a chronic illness and disability means she has a unique insight, that she feels can be used to help others understand and support each other. In her spare time, she loves baking, reading and making new friends. She also loves going on walks in the countryside with her boyfriend and dog.